Why it’s important to eliminate false alarms
Alarm activations do not always signify an actual break-in. More often than not, burglar and fire alarm activations prove to be false and can be attributed to a multitude of non-threatening reasons, none of which is related to criminal activity.
In fact, the Association of Chief Police Officers reports that around 89% of police call outs that relate to burglar alarm activations in the UK are a result of false alarms.
More specifically, the FRSs (Fire and rescue services) attended 225,454 false fire alarms in the year ending June 2017. This was a four percent increase compared with the previous year (217,088).
A false alarm activation may put your mind at peace as there’s no actual criminal activity taking place, but false alarms come at a great cost, both financially and at the expense of real security.
If the Police are attending call outs for false alarms they can’t be there for real incidents and effectively prevent real crimes from happening.
Monitored alarms and Police response
Due to the accruing exuberant costs that false alarms entail, Police only respond to monitored burglar and fire alarms that have been vetted and confirmed by an accredited ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre).
At Banham, we boast our own inhouse ARC manned by highly-trained and SIA-licensed security professionals who monitor your alarm and property 24/7, 365 days a year.
Although, having a monitored burglar alarm doesn’t automatically mean that you are guaranteed a police response every time.
Police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will only respond to remotely monitored security systems that meet the specific requirements of the NPCC (National Police Chief Council) Policy or in cases where a person at the scene reports an offence taking place. The security system installations, as well as the service provided by the ARC and the security companies, must be UKAS certified and NSI accredited.
The National Police Chief’s Council has announced that there are two distinct levels of response:
- Level One – immediate response (subject to priorities)
- Level Three – response withdrawn
Level three comes in effect in the event of three false alarm activations for intruder alarms or two false activations from personal attack alarms in a 12-month rolling period. Level three means that Police response is withdrawn from the premises.
Thankfully, it’s easy to reduce the chances of a false alarm activation by taking some simple precautions, and above all, ensuring that you enlist the services of an accredited security company like Banham to undertake the installation of your security system. Read on to discover what causes false alarm activations and how you can avoid them.
What are the most common causes of false alarm activations?
Before delving deeper into the actions you can take to prevent false alarms, we need to identify the causes behind them.
Poorly installed alarms
One of the most common culprits for false alarms is poor installations. Whether it’s a misplaced sensor or detector or there are other faults in the system installation, this can trigger a false alarm.
Alarm equipment is damaged
Cables, sensors, detectors, main control panel – a security system features many components that are prone to damage and general wear and tear. The system is as good as its parts, so all it takes is one of the components to have been damaged to compromise the reliability of the entire system.
Dirt, debris and spider webs may impair the sensors’ function and result in false alarms.
Wrong sensors installed
A wrong type of sensor could cause problems. If for example a vibration sensor is installed on a door or window that’s adjacent to a busy road, there is an increased chance for a false alarm.
Lack of proper maintenance and service
Professional ongoing maintenance and service are key to ensure that your alarm system operates properly, and any potential faults are rectified immediately before causing any issues.
DIY solutions may seem enticing as there are seemingly cost savings involved but in the long run, that’s not the case. Without factoring your insurance policy that will be voided should you make a claim with a DIY alarm system installed, DIY installations can also cause false alarms due to misplaced sensors and poorly executed installations. Regardless of how experienced you may be with alarms and electrical installations, it is always advised to enlist the services of the professional security company to carry out the installation and the maintenance of your system.
How to avoid false alarms
Practice operating your alarm system
It’s quite common for homeowners to make a mistake when arming and disarming the alarm, especially during the first days after the alarm is installed which explains why a large portion of false alarm triggers can be attributed to user error. To prevent this from happening, you should practice operating your alarm system; familiarise yourself with the keypad, learn all the available functions like arming and disarming your alarm, setting and un-setting the connected devices, programming key fobs, and adding and removing users. Our security experts stand ready to show you how your alarm system works and provide you with clear instructions on how to carry out all the necessary controls, thus avoiding setting off the alarm by accident.
Secure loose and stray objects in the detector’s field of view
An item absentmindedly placed on the edge of a surface or hanging near a sensor could activate the motion detectors should it fall or move while the system is armed. In a similar manner, curtains, plants and other decorations may move if there is a draft through an open window or if a ventilation unit is left on. Before arming your alarm, turn on your air-conditioning system and determine if it moves any objects. If so, make the necessary arrangements to avoid false alarm triggers.
Install pet-friendly sensors
Your pets can set off motion detectors as they wander around the house. Banham’s alarm systems can be equipped with pet-friendly sensors which are designed to detect pets and ignore their movement.
Professional maintenance and service
If there is a single most important measure that you can take to eliminate the chances of a false alarm activation, that’s professional maintenance and service by an accredited security company. At Banham we offer maintenance and service plans for all our alarm systems which are tailored to your requirements.
Wireless alarm systems are becoming increasingly popular among home and business owners as they are extremely easy to install and don’t require any hardwiring through the walls. As such, the sensors and detectors can’t draw power from the mains and each sensor requires its own battery. Wireless alarm batteries need to be replaced on average every 1,5 – 2 years. Battery replacements fall under our maintenance and service plans, so that you don’t have to worry.
Invest in a monitoring plan
The benefits of a monitoring plan with Police response are hard to ignore. Not only will the ARC vet every alarm signal and notify you immediately, but in the event of a confirmed activation, our SIA-licensed controllers will contact the Police who will arrive onsite as quickly as possible. Banham’s inhouse ARC operates 24/7, 365 days a year giving you peace of mind that no alarm activation will go unnoticed.
Contact us today to learn more about the available burglar alarm and monitoring plan options.